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Today, Southwest gave the residents of Wisconsin something to talk about around the bubbler. 

We’re adding Milwaukee and General Mitchell International Airport to our network!!!  Starting late this year, the home of the Cunninghams, the Fonz, Laverne and Shirley, the Bucks, the Brewers, and the Packers will become the 68th airport on the Southwest Airlines route map.  (Yeah, I realize the Packers are technically based in Green Bay, but they're the professional football team for the whole state of Wisconsin, so I'll include them here!)

We know many of you in the Milwaukee area are already familiar with Southwest (low fares and GREAT Customer Service!)—but for our Customers that aren’t familiar with Milwaukee, you’ve got a treat in store for you.  Besides having a vibrant business base, Milwaukee is just a lot of fun.  Amazing food (please, PLEASE visit Mader’s for German food!), the arts (the Milwaukee Art Museum has masterpiece buildings designed by both Saarinen and Calatrava!), the home of Harley-Davidson (don’t miss their museum!), sausage, cheese, beer, sports, the lake….and of course, the people.  Good people.  Just don’t plan anything other than watching football on a Sunday afternoon when the Packers are playing. You could be very lonely….  *grin*

Milwaukee is going to be a GREAT addition to our network.  Wisconsin’s legendary work ethic, which mirrors Southwest’s exceptionally productive Culture, is going to make us a great fit in the land of the Cheesehead. 

2009 has turned into a banner year for new cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York LaGuardia, Boston...and now Milwaukee) at Southwest.  Four new destinations this year—the most new airports we’ve added since 1996, when we added Tampa Bay, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Providence.  But the significant difference is that in 1996 Southwest was in full growth mode in a robust economy.  Now, in 2009, we’re adding all four of these cities without adding aircraft to our fleet—instead, we’re doing it by continuing to trim unpopular flights from existing markets and redeploying our resources by adding new destinations to our network.  Once again—the enormous power of our Schedule Optimizer gives us the ability to reshuffle the “deck” and deploy our aircraft in a way that allows Southwest to expand our reach without expanding our fleet.

We’re still working out the details of our service at Milwaukee, but we’ll get back to you soon with the specifics.  Welcome to the network, Milwaukee—and from Laverne and Shrley’s theme song—“Schlemeel…Schlemozzle….Hasenfeffer Incorporated…..We’re gonna do it!!!